I started my surgery clerkship with the new year and it has been a whirlwind. My first week has been in ENT surgery, focusing mostly on the vocal cords. We did operations to fix vocal cord paralysis, subglottic stenosis, and I mixed in a day of thyroidectomies/tumor removals/trachea resections too. Scattered throughout the post, I have mixed in random surgical selfies from the past 8 years lol. You're welcome.
As a premise to this rotation, I hate the OR. I think surgery is fantastic and the ability medical professionals have in surgery is AMAZING. We [and I'm including myself minimally] resected a diseased piece of trachea and literally SEWED THE OTHER TWO PARTS BACK TOGETHER. Did you even know that was possible? It was pretty cool. I hate the OR mostly because I feel so uncomfortable when I'm scrubbed in. I have scrubbed in a lot during my medical school career in various specialties and no matter what, I always freak out and feel like I'm going to mess something up. A scrub tech told me--no that is actually a good attitude to have, because you are more cautious. OK--but it makes me feel TERRIBLE and anxious constantly.
So, here is my wisdom from my previous OR encounters and my recent time on ENT service. I think these are applicable during any time you are around the OR in medical school.
5. wear a white lab coat [from the surgical locker room] over your scrubs [take it off for the OR obvi] Essential things for the pockets:
6. Wear comfy shoes - i think this is obvious. I have asics that are like walking on clouds. Bonus points if you wear compression socks. They have fun medical ones on amazon for cheap, but really any will do. This will save your little legs when you are standing for 12+ hours. I wear cushy columbia socks over my compression socks bc it adds extra cushion to my feet. Yes, columbia ones are the cushiest. Believe me.
7. Don't wear jewelry, especially earrings. Other people do and whatever, that's their deal. But 1) you're the student and everyone is hyperfocused on what you will do wrong. 2) do you want your diamonds falling off into the patient? DIDN'T THINK SO. don't wear your wedding ring. lol.
8. If you wear glasses, wear glasses straps. If you do it wrong it will look nerdy. But I hide mine in my bun, and nobody ever knows. They're cheap, easy, invisible. But then you don't have to worry about pushing your glasses up, them falling off into the body cavity, etc. Just super handy to have one less thing to worry about.
9. women only-- ok maybe men too? Just wear a comfy sports bra. OMG you will thank me. Again, columbia has my vote.
10. Ok, I just had to throw this in -- know how to scrub and how to maintain the sterile field. I'm hoping if you're using the above steps you already know how to do this....
M3 at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine